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Becoming A Bartender: What You Really Need

Becoming A Bartender: What You Really Need

When you come across the idea of becoming a bartender in your mind, you can find that it’s very important to invest in the right tools. And you would be right. From getting a stylish bartender apron to make sure that you stand out from the rest to the best cocktail tool set you can afford, you’ll find many little things can have an impact on your becoming a bartender.

Of course, becoming a bartender means more than throwing a few bucks down on a good cocktail toolset and a bartender apron! You need to know how to be a good bartender first and foremost. There is a secret to this, and one that many people struggle to get right. If you would like to start enjoying the life of being a bartender, then you need to know how to get started in the first place. 

I Lack Bartending Experience: How Can I Start?

Every single person who you envy on the other side of the bar was stood where you are this moment in time: looking longingly at a veteran bartender. The first thing that you need to do to make up for that lack of experience, then, shows three things:
  1. An understanding of the classics. From a classic mojito cocktail to making sure that you can serve a Manhattan everyone will enjoy, it’s vital that you soon get to grips with the classics in the industry.
  2. Standard bartending patter. From knowing what someone means when they ask for a drink “on the rocks” to being able to get that drink with a twist just right, you can impress by showing a knowledge of the kind of terminology that you will be using.
  3. A passion for bars without being a night out. Turn up at the bar a few nights a week, maybe only having one drink – or none. You can find that it’s easy for you to start getting into the good books with staff just by being around the place without being another drunk they need to deal with.
Read Also: Mixologist Vs Bartender: Know The Difference

Once you start to get in with the bar staff, you can think about asking for a job as a barback; an important role that could be your first step to becoming a bartender. Now what?


Getting the Right Tools

As we mentioned above, you need to invest in tools worth having. You can’t just go to the nearest dollar shop or fire off online and buy something dirt cheap. For a cocktail tool set, you want it to be of high and impressive quality. Maybe even ask the staff at the bar if they recommend a good toolset.

You can find that you can get more practice in at home and in your own social gatherings if you invest in a cocktail toolset that is actually worthwhile being used.  

At the same time, you should buy a good and high-quality bartender apron. Most of the time, you want one made from high-quality leather; something style, durable and easy to keep in fine fettle. If you choose to do this, then you can make the normal challenges and limitations of getting started in the bar industry a bit easier.  

There is a lot to learn if you want to be good at this role, but turning up with the right tools is a good start. Most of the time you won’t even need them, but it’s like turning up for a trial shift with a plasterer without any tools of your own. You might not be expected to use your own tools, but it demonstrates:

  • A keen interest to get to know the tools that you will be using outside of work hours.
  • An interest in the wider machinations of the entire industry and how it works.
  • A willingness to show that you are happy to learn and make a good impression.
  • The desire needed to actually succeed in the high-pressure bar environment.

And believe us, the pressure which awaits you is very high indeed. What you can do, though, is invest in some training on how to become a good bartender.


What Makes A Good Bartender?

  • First off, know what skill suits you best. Some people will suit mixology other than perhaps just being a chatty bartender. Others revel in the pep talk style of the barman; the person who inebriates you and listens to your issues and woes in life.
  • Know what you can do and what you cannot. Take it slow; don’t start trying the flair tricks to impress punters and staff only to wind up smashing tumblers. Take it slow and make an impression by being disciplined and by working with customers over trying to overcompensate.
  • Work as part of the team. A good bartender has more than just good jokes or a fast pulling hand. You need to be out there on the ground floor, cleaning up and keeping the place in top condition. The more that you do this, the more positively you will influence the bar staff around you.
  • Speaking of staff, a good barman ha the back of his colleagues. If someone is being rowdy and having a problem with others, you should almost certainly get involved and deal with the situation as calmly as you can. If it seems certain to become violent, phone the cops.
  • Make sure that you always do as you are asked when you are asked. Part of being a good barman is making sure that drinks are served and spirits are high. Another part of it is making sure everything behind-the-scenes is operating to the expected standard.
With all of this in mind, then, you can very easily enjoy a much more satisfying experience than you might have appreciated. If you are serious about becoming a good bartender, then consider the above before you crash through the doors and try to become the next superstar barman!

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